Visit the spectacular Pacific Northwest in its finest season on a 10-day Venture to the state of Washington. We will visit the Olympic Peninsula, Whidbey Island, Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and the Columbia River Basin, covering a vast variety of habitats, wet and dry, from scenic rocky cliff coastlines to above the tree-line, ocean to mountaintop, rain forest to high desert.
Highlights will include visits to both Olympic and Mt. Rainier national parks, where we will search the high elevations for such specialties as Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, Gray Jay, Mountain Bluebird and Sooty Grouse, plus an all-day pelagic trip exploring Gray's Canyon, a submarine canyon located on the edge of the Continental Shelf, where we should see an excellent variety of pelagic birds such as Black-footed Albatross, Red Phalarope, South Polar Skua as well as several species of shearwaters and storm-petrels, and marine mammals including whales, porpoises, sea lions and seals. Expect to see many new birds on this Venture which should yield over 200 species!
Join us for our first ever weekend trip to The High Country of western NC! On this short & sweet Venture, we will visit spots in Ashe, Watagua, and Avery counties, exploring a wide variety of habitats. Our focus will be on the high-elevation specialties as well as the southbound migration of songbirds and raptors. Expect to observe around 100 species of birds on this weekend trip that has been scheduled right in the midst of fall migration!
Here, we will explore rare habitats such as mountaintop islands of spruce/fir forests and high-elevation bogs where uncommon and unique birds occur. Fall warblers and other migrant songbirds should be abundant and we’ll pay special attention to finding those high-elevation specialists seldom seen in the low country – Red Crossbill, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pine Siskin, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet and more.
Raptor, Shorebird & Passerine Migration
September 19 – 25, 2018
In the fall, thousands of migrating raptors, representing as many as 18 different species, stream along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains or down the Atlantic coast on their way south. Straddling eastern Pennsylvania’s Kittatinny Ridge is Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a 2,380-acre preserve established in 1934 as the world’s first refuge devoted to birds of prey. The sanctuary’s North Lookout, a 1,521-foot high rocky promontory, provides a spectacular panorama of the Appalachian ridges and valleys, and, depending on wind patterns, often affords close-up views of raptors gliding along Hawk Mountain’s unique ridge topography.
Graham County, NC
September 21-28, 2018
Two miles from the lodge is the 3,800-acre Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, a wonderland of centuries-old hemlocks and tulip poplars, basswoods, beeches, oaks and flowering dogwoods, mosses, ferns and wildflowers -- a remnant of America's virgin wilderness and a fitting memorial to the poet who penned "Trees." The wildflowers will be blooming and the birds will be singing, including the trilling "snowbird" (Dark-eyed Junco) nesting at its mountain breeding ground. Join us in welcoming spring back to the mountains of western North Carolina.
Georgia's barrier islands, coastal marshes, and estuaries are home to many species of birds. On this long weekend Venture, we will base ourselves on historic Jekyll Island. Coastal Georgia comprises pine flatlands, marshes, sounds, rivers, barrier islands, and beaches, while the mainland is characterized by wide peninsulas formed by broad tidal rivers and salt marshes. The sea-islands, known as the "golden isles," are comprised of beaches, dunes, marshes, and small forested areas. Lying along the Atlantic flyway, the coastal area has large numbers of seasonally migrating shorebirds and songbirds, wintering waterfowl, and the expected permanent resident birds of the marshes, maritime forests, and beaches.
Eastern Shore & Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
January 10-14, 2019
So-called “Tidewater” Virginia is comprised of two parts: the wide, low coastal plain, cut by meandering rivers into long peninsulas, which forms the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay; and the “Eastern Shore,” the Virginia portion of the Delmarva Peninsula (containing portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia), which forms the eastern shoreline of the Bay. Where the coastal plain meets the ocean there are barrier islands with wide beaches and sand dunes. Behind these lie salt and brackish marshes and shallow bays with wintering waterfowl and other water birds.
‘Owls & Winter Finches’
February 1-6, 2019
A trip to northern Minnesota in the dead of winter may beggar belief for the average person, but for birders, this is the best time of year to see the highly-sought after northern owls (Great Gray, Snowy, Northern Hawk, and sometimes Boreal and Northern Saw-whet). The list of winter finches adds additional highlights with Common & Hoary Redpolls, Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, and Red Crossbill all likely. Winter provides a much better chance of seeing things like Spruce Grouse in addition to the expected gamut of Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing and more. We will also be on the lookout for any mammals, with moose and gray wolf both being possible.
October 29 – November 3, 2019
The uncommon and very hard-to-see Yellow Rail (we saw over 20 in an afternoon on our 2015 & 2016 trips!) will be the star of the show and we should see them from atop the combines as we move through the field, harvesting the late season of rice. Soras, Virginia and King Rails are all likely as well in the fields and there’s always the chance of seeing Le Conte’s, Nelson’s, and Grasshopper Sparrows. This tour will be at a relaxed pace and there will be plenty of time to thoroughly explore the agricultural fields, coastal marshes, gulf beaches, and pineywoods for an assortment of raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds, sparrows, and overwintering warblers, all the while enjoying a taste of authentic Cajun cuisine complete with crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, and live music.